News Releases

Female Escapee from 1979 Caught

Nancy Garces arrested in Santa Barbara

CHINO – An inmate who had escaped in 1979 from the California Institution for Women (CIW) was apprehended Tuesday, January 11, 2011, by Santa Barbara Police Department officers.

“We would like to commend the Santa Barbara Police Department for its prompt and efficient action in apprehending the escaped felon Nancy Garces,” said Michael Ruff, Special Agent in Charge for CDCR’s Office of Correctional Safety, Special Service Unit. “This is a message to all at-large felons that California law enforcement agents never give up when searching for fugitives.”

Inmate Nancy Garces was received by CDCR on February 16, 1979, from Butte County with a two-year sentence for forging a credit card (P484F). She escaped May 25, 1979, and remained at-large until her arrest in Santa Barbara. Based on a tip, the Tuesday morning arrest was coordinated by Detective Mark Vierra.

According to CIW records, there was a discrepancy with the evening count at the prison on May 25, 1979. A “frozen” count implemented by the watch commander determined inmate Nancy Garces was not accounted for and presumed missing. A search of the institution and fence line confirmed Garces had escaped.

Garces had been seen in the visiting room, but staff reported that she had left to return to her housing unit. She didn’t return to her housing unit. It was determined that she went directly to her escape point and was able scale a fence in the maintenance compound. Escape teams were deployed, but all area searches were negative.

CDCR officials will escort the 56-year-old Garces back to CIW this week. She may face additional charges, including escape.

Since 1977, more than 99 percent of escapees from California state prisons have been apprehended.

For Immediate Release
Contact Paul Verke (916) 445-4950